This month our team have been inspired by research findings that show even small changes to our daily choices and routines can bring benefits to our health, productivity and the outcome of therapies. And, with a glimpse into the future of medical implants, is it really possible that snoring could power a pacemaker? Read on…
1. Quality of life isn’t just about feeling good… it’s about ‘immortalising’ our cells.
Reach for a fast food fix or smoke a cigarette and something inside says, “didn’t like that, your life just got shorter”. But treat your mind and body to a relaxing bath followed by a healthy salad and inside says, “that feels good, let’s increase your life span a bit”. Here we start to uncover how.
Inside us all is a ‘glue’ called telomeres and it works with a chromosome in the same way an aglet (plastic bit) stops a shoelace from unravelling. The nature of them was discovered by Nobel Prize winner Dr Elizabeth Banks and it’s understood that these work as the protector caps that stop chromosomes from breaking apart or joining with others e.g. mutation. Low levels of telomeres are associated with increased risk of disease, because if they aren’t doing their job then chromosomes go ‘unmanaged’.
So why do they stop working? Well, science has learnt that as we age the telomeres naturally deteriorate by shortening and when they become too short, they die. The important part: new studies are now showing that life stress (mind or body) can also impact length and, in a way, accelerate the ageing process. This is very important if we think about, for example, the way cancer is treated; the stress could in theory undo the targeted treatment, i.e. while it kills off some bad cells, the process for healthy cells is impacted due to stress from side effects and a reduced quality of life. So, treatment and QoL really do go hand in hand since both are needed to prolong life.